Nissan to reveal electric SUV to join Leaf

The new Nissan Leaf is claimed to offer an all-electric range of 378km, which works out around 235 miles. The big problem here is that very few consumers are buying or planning to buy electric vehicles.

New e-Pedal technology lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. This is for the launch model with a 40kWh battery; later in 2018, a more powerful 60kWh version is being mooted, which will take the range to over 300 miles.

It's a similarly large step forward for the car's design.

"The Leaf is not going to challenge Tesla", Next Green Car's Mr Lilly said. "This time around Nissan is promising a more conventional design that should make the Leaf more appealing to a wider range of buyers".

ProPILOT allows the driver to enable autonomous driving functionality when driving on single-lane highways at the touch of a button, after which the technology will control steering, acceleration and braking.

The LEAF's revolutionary e-Pedal technology transforms the driving experience. Tesla's Model 3, with its lack of grille and, well, anything at all on the dashboard beyond a giant touchscreen, is the kind of vehicle that makes you feel like you're buying into the future.

"If the range goes up and the price remains the same, the new Nissan Leaf will continue to offer one of the least expensive and practical ways to own a pure electric auto", Caldwell said.

"We have advantages that Tesla does not", said Daniele Schillaci, Nissan executive vice president for global sales. Nissan's engineers stress that the set-up of our pre-production Leaf is not fully representative of cars that'll reach Britain. For those that don't know what E-Pedal is, the feature is a standard gas pedal with added brake function.

The LEAF first came on the market in 2010 and they have since sold 1,200 new models. Nissan design boss Alfonso Albaisa admitted at an advance showing in Japan that the old Leaf's design "wasn't popular with the majority of people, so its look couldn't contribute to sales".

With bulked-up battery power, the Leaf will go 150 miles on a single charge, according to the company, up from 107 miles in the previous version.

In addition to the price difference, the Leaf is trying to differentiate itself in technology as well. It will be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide. The system can park in both parralel and perpendicular slots and takes control of the car's steering, accleration, gear shifting and braking. But it has a price tag that's $5,000 cheaper than those two vehicles which may have some potential customers debating the if 100 miles is worth the extra cash. The general expectation is that autonomy is intrinsically linked to vehicle electrification.

The Nissan Leaf has played a major role in establishing the Japanese carmaker as one of the pioneers in the electric cars space. Nissan says along with excellent aerodynamics, the styling - from the sleek silhouette to the car's "advanced expression" - evokes the exhilaration of driving an EV.

  • Arturo Norris